A book review is a critical summary of a book. It is an open forum where one analyses and forms an opinion of the writers work. This critical evaluation is not only a useful source of information for the reader, but for those who intend to read the book.
The essential step for writing a book review is to read it thoroughly and understand the contents of the book. One has to understand that it is simply not a summary but a critique. The three important steps in writing a book review are:
Step 1: Introduction
Start by mentioning the essentials like the title of the book, author’s name and relevant publishing information. You should also specify what type of literature it. For example it could be a sociological analysis, a historical book, a purely academic one or a lighter piece of work. Normally, the background about the writer is not required but one should not omit it if it’s of special relevance - for example a refugee writing on refugees. This helps to put the text in a specific context.
Step 2: Main Section – Description and Summary
The main section ideally consists of two sections – the description and the summary. The description can have excerpts from the book that give valuable insight into the work. However, while reviewing the storyline one has to make sure that the suspense of the story is not given away.
Step 3: The Critical Analysis
In this section, one has to remember not to critically analyze the entire book but take out those points which are intriguing. For example, if the book is on the urban poor, one can perhaps focus on their politics and culture. Your opinion on the book is crucial here as it shapes your analysis. It helps to provide an insight into the attributes of the book - Is it worth reading, is it interesting and so on. This section should also talk about one’s learning’s from the book and whether it holds an important or interesting message that caught your attention.
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